MAAP my ride
As triathletes, we spend a big part of our training cycling – normal, because the bike makes up the largest portion of a triathlon event. Ask any coach, if you want to have a good run in a tri, you need to have a strong bike. This requires a lot of time spent out on the road.
One thing needed when the riding kilometres ramp up, is a decent cycling kit – so, a pair of good cycling shorts and a jersey that fits well. This can be the difference between having an enjoyable ride and ticking training boxes, and well, not. It can also help to avoid a lot of pain and discomfort, on and off the bike.
It has always seemed to me that MAAP is more of a luxury cycling brand, reserved only for elite cyclists – the cool kids on the block – rather than regular punters like me. So when the latest MAAP cycling kit arrived at the AT office I was eager to road test it – would it really be all that it seemed?
Women’s Prism Pro Hex Jersey
When choosing a jersey it’s important to consider the fit, length and weight of the jersey, along with its temperature control and breathability properties; how it feels and how comfortable it is.
On unpacking the jersey, I was a little worried initially. I wanted it to fit snug without being skin-tight so I had chosen a size small, but when I first opened the pack the jersey came in, it looked a little too small. This had me worried about the length of the jersey and also about the collar – I really didn’t want to be wearing a jersey that was too small, too short or too tight around the neck as this would make for a potentially uncomfortable ride.
The moment of truth came on first wear. I put on the jersey, zipped it all the way up and happily discovered that the slim-fitting jersey fits almost like a glove. The silky, Hex-Tech® Fabric felt great against my sensitive skin too, and the jersey felt lightweight overall. It was snug without being too tight and didn’t restrict movement. In fact, there is still a little bit of room to move in the sleeves (the sleeves possibly could be a little tighter) but that’s probably more to do with my chicken-wing-like upper arms rather than the design or size, as a smaller jersey would have been too small and too tight.
The sleeves are longer compared to what I’ve worn in the past and while I didn’t get a chance to test this, this would be great for keeping arm warmers in place during colder months. Also, longer sleeves mean more sun protection in the summer. The sleeves feature a ‘twin needle hem’, which is meant to keep the sleeves in place and I certainly found this to be true during all of my rides.
The length of the jersey was a little short for my liking, which did cause it to ride up a little during a criterium (crit) race I took part in while wearing the MAAP kit – especially when I was leaning over on the bike, and down on the drops. But really, this is a minor concern and it certainly wasn’t an issue during my longer rides. In fact, during the longer rides, I soon forgot about the length completely.
When completely zipped up, the collar felt firm around the neck but didn’t feel like a chokehold. I could keep the jersey zipped up for most of my rides comfortably. Speaking of the reversed YKK zip, it didn’t catch on the fabric when zipping and unzipping, even while riding. The camlock puller held the zipper in place when I had the jersey halfway unzipped during the backend of one of my hot, hill rides, which prevented the jersey from completely opening up.
When I first put on the jersey, I was unsure about the pockets. I found them to sit slightly higher compared to other jerseys I’ve worn and I wondered if this would make it difficult to reach for my nutrition or iPhone during my ride. I was also worried that this would cause the pockets to move around more during my rides. And of course, I was keen to find out if the pockets would sag once filled with spares, CO2 canisters, nutrition and more.
To my delight, the larger back pockets, made from unidirectional stretch, anti-sag fabric lived up to their promise. They didn’t sag when filled to the brim and didn’t move around during the ride. What’s more, because the pockets are deep I was able to fit more into the pockets and it was also a lot easier to take things out of the pockets, and to put things back in mid-ride – there was no frustration at not being able to put my iPhone back into my back pocket after taking that all-important mid-ride selfie. Lastly, the pockets are secured with elastic at the top meaning that I didn’t have to worry that my gels and iPhone would bounce out of the pockets mid-ride (yes, this has happened to me in the past!).
Onto the temperature control and breathability – it is said that the back panel, side panels and collar use a micro-perf mesh for exactly this. The first ride I did to test the kit turned into a hot summer’s afternoon. I was sweating profusely towards the end of the four-hour hill ride – I literally had sweat dripping down my face. But despite the Niagara Falls-like sweat making its way down my body, the jersey stayed relatively dry and remained comfortable. I didn’t feel stifled in the jersey or like I was overheating, and while I did unzip at one point nearing the top of my final climb, I probably could have left it zipped up as there was plenty of airflow happening.
Finally, the all-important look of the jersey. I found it to be really flattering and form-fitting. However, it does come in only one colour – navy, and I‘ll be honest, initially, I wasn’t absolutely sold on this or the prism design (I’m used to bright, bold colours – think: hot pink and black combinations). But this has grown on me and I think it looks really stylish, particularly when matched with the bib shorts.
Sizes Extra Extra Small – Large
Women’s Team Bib Short
Similar to when buying a jersey, there are a few key things you need to look at when purchasing bib shorts, including the chamois, the braces on the bib, the leg length and anti-slip gripper holds. And, of course, you need to consider the comfort factor, the feel and the fit.
First up, the chamois. The MAAP Women’s Team Bib Shorts 2.0 feature a women’s specific chamois, meaning that the chamois matches the specific anatomy of the female pelvis. This is said to provide greater padding where soft tissue structures commonly contact the saddle, minimising padding where it’s not needed (this should avoid bunching and, unwanted rubbing and chaffing). True to their word, the chamois kept its promise. It didn’t move or bunch up, or cause painful rubbing. It provided comfort where it was needed, and as a result, I’ve walked away from all rides so far without chaffing or saddle sores. In fact, I found the chamois to be that comfortable that I completely forgot about it during my rides.
Furthermore, the support provided was spread evenly across the pelvis – I felt I had the same support when sitting up as when I was leaning forward on the drop bars. The chamois felt smooth and it was nice on the soft, sensitive skin of the pelvis. The internal perforation at the back-end of the chamois helped with airflow so I was dry, which further helped to prevent chaffing. The stitching is also high quality and even after two or three washes and multiple rides, the chamois has stayed intact.
Next up, the bib shorts and braces. As soon as I put the bib shorts on, it was love at first wear. The fit was spot on and the ‘Italian 4-way stretch fabric with compression properties’ felt amazing – the fit was firm but not too tight (the compression properties of the material held my jiggly bits in place nicely), it almost felt like a second skin. The longer length of the bib shorts was brilliant too. There was no readjustment needed – no tugging, pulling or readjusting mid-ride. Plus, the length along with the compression made my legs appear longer – very flattering. Move over Miranda Kerr. According to MAAP, the dual layer bonded material of the shorts, with laser-cut edges and compression helps to ensure shorts stay in place during all riding conditions and I agree – I definitely found this to be true. The shorts adapted to my movements and as already mentioned, I didn’t have to readjust. In fact, I soon forgot about what I was wearing and focused completely on the ride. This is the level of comfort you want.
Finally, onto the bib. The bib shorts feature a two-strap bib – the straps sit over the shoulders and revert back to one strap at the back. I find this to be better compared to bibs that feature a mono-strap on the front and back. But the comfort factor really relies on the material and the stitching, and also the fit.
The straps of the MAAP bib shorts are made of a silky mesh that feels soft and smooth to touch, which equals comfort. Additionally, quality stitching has meant there’s been no cutting or chaffing around the armpits or shoulders. And the bib is the right length – it’s not too short or too long, which also helps prevent
any issues with digging in and cutting during the ride.
Colours Navy, Navy/Coral, Navy/White
Sizes Extra Extra Small – Large
So, is the MAAP cycling kit all that it seems? While there are a couple of adjustments I’d make (primarily to the jersey), it has mostly been love at first wear. I felt good; I looked the part … that, in itself, has been a massive confidence booster and motivator to get out on the bike. Most importantly, I have been comfortable during each ride and have been able to completely focus on riding rather than on what I was wearing. That is what you want from a cycling kit. Now, if only my riding skills matched my kit – #lookprogoslow!